Minimalist Monday: Making Vegetable Broth from Scraps (+ Video!)

Posted by:Lindsay S. Nixon Category: Advice

Every time I hear the EPA policy "reduce, reuse, recycle," minimalism comes to mind.

Being a minimalist is all about reduction (living with less), reuse (doing more with less), and recycling (finding multiple uses for the things you have).

Turning old socks and shirts into rags for cleaning, using household items for multiple purposes (i.e., using a dry piece of spaghetti to light candles) and so on.

But what about vegetable scraps? All that discard from your cooking adventures during the week.

If you have a compost pile, you can toss them there, but what if you don't have a compost pile?


It's so easy and a great way to save money, have great-tasting broth, and get a second life out of your veggie trimmings. 

If you have any of my cookbooks (HHC, EHH, or HHA), you'll find my basic vegetable broth recipe in each of them. That's what I use for a base. You start with 8 cups of water (2 quarts) and then add your vegetable scraps: onion skins, carrot skins, mushroom stems, the "hearts" of cauliflower and broccoli, and any veggie you have that's wilting or on its way out.

One exception: Leafy green stems. While a stem or two won't ruin a batch of broth, I find any more is asking for a bitter broth that you won't like. But maybe that's just me :)

I find for really great broth you need carrots, celery, and onion. If you have a lot of carrot, onion, or celery scraps, you might get away with not needing the actual vegetable, but I find having at least one of each makes a huge difference.

You can also add other vegetables you have like potatoes, leeks, zucchini, bell pepper, parsnip, etc.

I also add a few dashes of every dry green herb I have on hand such as basil, sage, oregano, thyme, bay leaf, etc. and a couple of black peppercorns. I generally don't add salt to my broth, but if you like a salted broth, add it at the end to taste. You can also use miso, which I love.

Finally, here's a quick video of me making vegetable broth using my scraps in my pressure cooker:

On the stovetop, cover, bring to a boil and simmer for 40 minutes or longer, until everything is really waterlogged. Drain off the water then put the waterlogged veggies into a strainer and press out the liquid.

I section off 1-cup batches and freeze them (it's only good in the fridge for a few days). You can also freeze your broth in an ice cube tray, then store the "cubes" in a container in the freezer for easy cooking without oil.

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